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Trends Neurosci. 2017 Apr;40(4):200-207. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2017.02.002. Epub 2017 Mar 15.

The Insula: An Underestimated Brain Area in Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatry, and Neurology.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA; Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA; Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA; Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA. Electronic address: asawa1@jhmi.edu.

Abstract

Supported by recent human neuroimaging studies, the insula is re-emerging as an important brain area not only in the physiological understanding of the brain, but also in pathological contexts in clinical research. In this opinion article, we briefly introduce the anatomical and histological features of the human insula. We then summarize the physiological functions of the insula and underscore its pathological roles in psychiatric and neurological disorders that have long been underestimated. We finally propose possible strategies through which the role of the insula may be further understood for both basic and clinical neuroscience.

KEYWORDS:

cognition; feeling; insula; motivation; neurological diseases; psychiatric diseases

PMID:
28314446
PMCID:
PMC5538352
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2017.02.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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